Have you ever had a horrible nightmare? The kind where you wake up and are so relieved to find out it was just a dream? You take a deep breath; feel instant relief, and then go back to sleep.
That is how Post Partum Depression is, except I never “wake up”.
Let me back up and I’ll introduce myself.
My name is Kailey. I am 28 years old. I am a mother of 2 wonderful children. I have a boy who is almost 4. He is all boy. And I mean ALL boy. He definitely keeps me on my toes. Then I have a perfect little girl who is 21 months. She is the sweetest little thing in the universe. She makes me want to have a thousand more babies.
My husband and I met August 2008 at Utah State University where we both were attending school. We dated for almost 2 years and were married in June 2010.
A year after we were married we moved to Phoenix, Arizona so my husband could attend law school. We were so excited for this next phase in life, but I was terrified to be moving away from my comfort zone.
Thankfully, we met new friends, got settled in our new life, and started to enjoy this new phase.
Let me give you a quick recap of that next year:
- My husband started law school and was MIA most of the time.
- I started a job and met some new friends.
- We decided to try to get pregnant, and after a few months, we got a positive pregnancy test. We were thrilled!
- Then I miscarried. We were heartbroken.
- Then my Grandpa passed away.
- Another positive pregnancy test!!!
- Another miscarriage…. More heartbreak.
- My other Grandpa passed away.
- A third positive pregnancy test. Hesitation.
- Fear, anxiety, anticipation and joy all mixed into one. It was kind of an interesting combination of emotions.
- We made it to 13 weeks! So we told our families.
- We found out that we were having a BOY!!
- Anxiety continued into the second trimester for fear of losing this baby too.
- 20 weeks came and went. We were excited, but still constantly anxious and afraid of losing the baby.
Fast forward to March 9, 2013.
He was born. I was a mom. Finally. He was perfect. He was healthy and adorable. My husband got exactly what he wanted for his 3oth birthday. It was a miracle.
But the thrill of being a new mom quickly wore off.
I was just 6 days postpartum when I began to feel ill. I had chills, aches, headache, no appetite and a fever. I called the doctor, and he gave me antibiotics. I was certain I had mastitis. A fter a day or so of the medication I felt better.
It was time for my parents to go back to SLC. Then my in laws came. A few days into that visit I began to feel ill again, but this time was worse. My mother in law took me to the Instacare for what I assumed was mastitis again. The doctor wasn’t sold on that, but gave me another antibiotic anyway.
This time I wasn’t getting better. I began to feel dark, trapped, anxious to be around people, and anxious to be alone. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Day by day, minute by minute, I felt worse. It wasn’t going away. What was going on? I kept calling my OB, and he kept having me come in. He couldn’t figure it out either.
I went to the ER 3 different times. My OB kept sending me to specialists. They tested me for meningitis and bacterial infections. The weeks were passing and I was feeling worse than I ever had in my life.
I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t get off the couch or off the floor. I was nauseous all day long. I was terrified of everything. I couldn’t be alone. I was calling my husband during the day and just crying. He was struggling to be successful in school, take care of his wife (who was not herself), and care for this new baby.
I felt like a failure.
I felt darkness.
I felt dead inside.
I was living a nightmare.
One day my friend Lisa stopped by. Thank heavens for Lisa. She was my first life saver. She mentioned that I might be suffering from anxiety and told me it was normal, but that I should definitely ask my doctor.
I called my doctor that day. I spoke with the nurse, but she blew it off, saying that I wouldn’t have any symptoms like that until I was 6 weeks postpartum. She said I could discuss it with the doctor at my 6 week check up. That was 3 weeks away. I wanted to scream.
I can’t remember why, but for some reason I called back the next day and basically begged her to give me something for anxiety. She finally agreed and sent over a prescription. I felt relief. I thought, “Oh good, this will fix everything. I will feel better quick”.
I took the meds, but began to vomit. I called and they said the medication must not agree with me. They called me in a different script, but the same thing happened. This time I was told to go to the ER. So off we went to the ER for the 4th time in 2 weeks.
It was at this point that my husband had to call my family and let them know I was back in the ER. My husband and family were at a loss. Nobody knew what was happening. My husband’s stress level was at an all time high. He had to miss so much school for all the times I called begging him to come home from school.
I felt awful. The darkness never subsided. It got worse EVERY SINGLE DAY.
This is when my mom said she was coming back to be with me for another week. We hoped this would help get me back on my feet, and my husband could get back to school. How wrong we were.
She came and somehow during that time my old doctor back in SLC diagnosed me with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. This doctor explained the dosages of those medications were too high, and they were making me sick. She put me on a different medication with the correct dosage. We finally got a bit of relief and knew it was Postpartum Depression.
This was very new to my family, and we didn’t know much about it. We did some research, and talked to a close family friend who we knew had it too. We learned quickly the medicine wasn’t going to be a quick fix. It wasn’t something that was going to get better in those few days my mom was out helping us.
I did what doctors suggested, and flew back to Utah with my mom and son. We found out the most important thing I needed was a support system and I didn’t have that in Phoenix.
I needed to be with someone 24/7. How humiliating. I needed a babysitter. I was a wife and mother. I was a grown up, with people who depend on me, but other people had to take care of ME.
After 6 weeks in Utah, I got to a point where I felt stable enough to go back to Phoenix.
We flew back to Phoenix and attempted to settle back into our new life as a family of 3.
Life started to become enjoyable at this point. I felt like I was feeling more ‘normal.’ It took about 2 months for the medicine to fully kick in. It was a long road to even get to this point. I knew I still had a long road ahead of me but there was finally that light at the end of the tunnel; I wasn’t close to it yet, but it was finally not so dark.
I learned a lot during these first few months. For me, I did way better as long as I stayed busy. I would have to force myself to do more than I wanted. When I started to have my dips during the day, and all I wanted to do was get back in bed and cry, I knew that was my queue to just do something, anything… laundry, vacuum, even if I already had 3 times that day, wash windows, try a new recipe, go for a walk, something, anything I just had to do stay busy.
Since then I have learned a lot about Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. I have tried changing dosage, meds, even tried going off the medicine completely. Huge mistake.
I had to accept that I needed to be on medication indefinitely, and that has relieved a lot of my stress.
I’ve gone to therapy, tried more natural remedies, eating better, getting more exercise, talking to other people with post partum depression, breathing exercises, journaling, and a variety of other approaches. So far, I have seen some success.
I definitely still have my days. And those days are hell. But those days end, and they are becoming fewer and further between.
I still haven’t completely woken up from this nightmare but I am proud to say I am nowhere near where I started. I can function in society. I do not want to run away and never come back anymore. I finally have a better understanding how to control this problem, rather than letting this problem control me.
If you or anyone you know are struggling with Postpartum Depression- TALK TO SOMEONE.
It is okay to not be okay.
It’s far more common than you think. Do not be embarrassed. It is ten times harder to deal with this alone. The more people who are in your support system, the better. DO NOT STRUGGLE SILENTLY.
You are not alone.
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